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Riot’s trying to avoid the pay-to-win problem with Legends of Runeterra

All the thrill of opening packs, without spending real money

A Yordle sits at a table full of gold and money Riot Games
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

One of the most complicated parts of any collectible card game is actually collecting the cards. While the hobby can often be expensive, Riot’s new League of Legends card game, Legends of Runeterra, is looking to fix that with a new system designed to give players the cards they want whether they spend money or not. The game has gone through one testing period so far, and Riot already has an update to the system that it shared with players on Wednesday.

Riot goes into detail about all the different types of rewards that players can get in Legends of Runeterra and what type of cards those rewards can grant. There are three different types of rewards in Legends of Runeterra that can grant cards: Capsules, Chests, and Wildcards.

Capsules are kind of like traditional card packs, they grant players a few random cards of certain rarities depending on which type of Capsule you open. Chests grant players either cards, or entire Capsules, along with some Shards. Players can use Shards to craft specific cards from the deckbuilder. Wildcards have a specific rarity and players can turn them into another card of that same rarity. Wildcards are what you can spend real money on in Legends of Runeterra. Each of these also has a small chance to upgrade to a higher rarity.

There won’t be a way to buy and open random packs or Capsules in the game, but there are other ways to earn each of these rewards. The first way to get cards is by selecting one of the game’s regions and earning XP for that region. Players can earn XP by simply playing games, or by completing a series of quests that will refresh with one new quest each day. Wins will get players more XP, but Riot says that losses will give plenty as well.

Each level you earn with a specific region unlocks cards for that region. Right now, there are 20 levels for each region, which means 20 rewards. Here are the rewards for each region right now:

  • 1 Rare Wildcard
  • 1 Epic Wildcard
  • 1 Champion Wildcard
  • 2 Random Epics
  • 1 Bronze Chest
  • 1 Silver Chest
  • 2 Golden Chests
  • 2 Platinum Chests
  • 1 Diamond Chest
  • 2 Capsules
  • 2 Wild Capsules
  • 2 Epic Capsules
  • 2 Champion Capsules

The second way players will get cards is called The Vault. The Vault is a weekly reward that you get depending on how much Legends of Runeterra XP you earned that week. The amount of XP you earn will determine your level and how many rewards you get when the Vault opens on its specific day of the week. All of the rewards in The Vault are chests, but your level determines the rarity of the chests. If you reach level 10, you’ll also get a random champion card.

Here’s a helpful graphic Riot released to show all the levels of rewards.

The weekly Vault rewards for Legends of Runeterra Riot Games

Riot seems aware that players are going to start collecting cards as fast as they can, so it has a system in place to prevent unnecessary duplicates. If you get more than three of one card, the max you can have in a deck, then you will get shards instead — 25 for a “common” card and 75 for a “rare” card. If it’s an epic or champion card, the two rarest kinds of cards in Legends of Runeterra, then you’ll get a random card of the same rarity. If you have all the epic and champion cards, any duplicates you get will turn into either 300 shards for an epic card or 1,000 for a champion.

According to Riot’s post, the goal for Legends of Runeterra is for diligent and committed players to be able to unlock all of the cards in a given set without spending any money. Riot says it thinks this will probably take around eight to 10 games a day for the duration of a set. As for players who don’t play quite as often, it should be easy for those players to hit 75 percent of the set before the next set arrives.

Most of all, Riot says it wants to “create a game where how much money you spend is NOT the deciding factor in your success as a player.”